Multifaceted impact of COVID-19 on dental practice: American dental care professionals prepared and ready during unprecedented challenges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the multifaceted impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on dental practices and their readiness to resume dental practice during arduous circumstances. Methods: The authors distributed an observational survey study approved by The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Institutional Review Board to dental care practitioners and their office staff members using Qualtrics XM software. The survey was completed anonymously. The authors analyzed the data using R statistical computing software, χ2 test, and Wilcoxon rank sum test. Results: Nearly all participants (98%) felt prepared to resume dental practice and were confident of the safety precautions (96%). Only 21% of dentists felt the COVID-19 pandemic changed their dental treatment protocols, with at least two-thirds agreeing that precautions would influence their efficiency adversely. Although most participants were satisfied with the resources their dental practice provided for support during the pandemic (95%), most were concerned about the impact on their general health and safety (77%) and to their dental practice (90%), found working during the pandemic difficult (≈ 60%), and agreed there are challenges and long-term impacts on the dental profession (> 75%). Conclusions: Dental care professionals, although affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and at high risk of developing COVID-19, were prepared to resume dental practice during most challenging circumstances. Practical Implications: The pandemic has affected dental care practitioners substantially; thus, there is need to formulate psychological interventions and safety precautions to mitigate its impact. Further research should evaluate the long-term effects on dentistry and oral health and interceptive measures for better communication and programming around future challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-143
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Volume153
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Pandemic
  • dental practice
  • dentists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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